Today we celebrate the 123rd Independence Day of the Philippines. It was on June 12, 1898 when our Filipino revolutionaries led by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippines as a free and sovereign nation. Our heroes asserted our independence.
We used to celebrate our Independence Day on July 4th, the independence day was granted or recognized by the Americans on July 4, 1946 with Manuel Luis Quezon as first president. In 1962, President Diosdado Macapagal issued Proclamation No. 28, s. 1962, effectively moving the date of Philippine Independence day from July 4 to June 12. Now we celebrate July 4th as Philippine-American Friendship Day.
Our two independence days made me think of a gift given to me years ago by a friend when we were idealistic fresh graduates from the University of the Philippines. It’s a small jar with this message- Freedom is not given, it is fought for. The message captures the essence of the two independence days in our history. One was fought for and another was granted, though it was also achieved through hard work and tenacity in negotiations with America.
It’s the spirit of people wanting and asserting to be free that sparks the flames of independence. It’s in the “Alab ng Puso” of the people, the respect, allegiance and love for the nation that determine true independence.
Happy Independence Day !
Maligayang Araw ng Kalayaan!